Investigating E-Planning in Practice: Applying the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

Investigating E-Planning in Practice: Applying the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

Wayne Williamson (Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia) and Bruno Parolin (Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijepr.2013070102
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Abstract

In the authors’ previous article (Williamson & Parolin, 2012) the authors used data collected through case studies and the application of Actor-Network Theory (ANT). In this article, the research approach taken is an online questionnaire of staff in government and private practice. The questionnaire data was analysed using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). The UTAUT results found that in order for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications to be widely accepted by planners, the organizations in which they work need to address performance expectancy and facilitating conditions as priorities. Although the research methods of ANT and UTAUT used in this research are vastly different, results have been found to be somewhat complimentary.
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Literature Review

PSS are typically designed to support the planning process and are usually based on several technologies, while using a common interface (Harris, 1989; Harris & Batty, 1993; Klosterman, 2001; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Geertman, 2006). There are three general types of PSS distinguished by the literature; informing, communicating and analysing PSS (Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Klosterman & Pettit, 2005). Informing PSS aim to make information accessible through a flow of information to the user. Communicating PSS aim to facilitate communications and discussions amongst participants in the planning process, while analysing PSS attempt to facilitate advanced processing of data for simulation and evaluation purposes.

Klosterman (2001) predicted that increased use of PSS would be aided by the rapid development of computer hardware and software; however, an inventory of PSS conducted by Geertman & Stillwell (2004), concluded that the majority of PSS had not progressed past the prototype stage, with little evidence of PSS reaching stages of maturity and use in planning practice. The situation is considered somewhat surprising as a small number of PSS have reached a level of maturity that allows them to be sold as off-the-shelf software tools, typically as ArcGIS plug-ins (Klosterman & Pettit, 2005; Geertman, 2008). Couclelis (2005) argues that the role of land use modelling remains problematic, especially in respect to future orientated scenario planning. Furthermore, PSS developers have some role to play in this situation as they have not provided the tools that planners really need. Geertman & Stillwell (2004) concluded that PSS should meet user and context requirements, including multiple levels of expertise, interdisciplinary perspectives, effective outputs for users, flexibility to focus on different problems and finally a need for more real-world experiences.

Vonk et al. (2005) found in their initial survey results that planning practitioners have little awareness of PSS type tools, which leads to low intentions to start using PSS among possible users. Vonk et al. (2007a) then built on these initial findings with follow-up interviews and a literature review, which concluded that PSS is in an early growth stage, with evidence of this found in some positive experiences by planners with PSS, and more critically, PSS tools are quite complex, while planners are calling for simple tools.

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